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Wartsila launches auto-docking system

Jun 3, 2019 08:59 AM

SmartDock draws on technology similar to that used by oil rig support vessels

Advanced testing was completed over a four-day period, which was followed with a product demonstration to customer groups.

Courtesy Wartsila

Advanced testing was completed over a four-day period, which was followed with a product demonstration to customer groups.

The following is text of a news release from Wartsila:

(HELSINKI, Finland) — Following the latest and most advanced testing of Wartsila's SmartDock auto-docking system, which included giving industry representatives and customers firsthand experience as passengers on board the test vessel, the company has secured the first order for the system. This makes SmartDock the world’s first commercially available auto-docking solution.

By automating docking procedures, the Wartsila SmartDock system mitigates potential human errors resulting from ship officers having to perform these technical maneuvers many times a day. This is especially important on, for example, larger ferries that must enter and leave tight docking spaces, where significant damage can be caused by forceful collisions with the dock walls.

The captain can select the destination and with a click of the "sail" button, the SmartDock system takes over. The ship then leaves the dock, maneuvers out of the harbor, sails to the next port of call, maneuvers into the harbor and docks alongside the quay, all without human intervention.

“The SmartDock solution is the culmination of decades of extensive research and testing by Wartsila in automation technology. Our system draws on similar automation and positioning technology used by oil rig support vessels to maintain proximity to the rig in the toughest sea environments. This gives us absolute confidence in SmartDock’s ability to meet the urgent commercial need to provide the safest possible docking for commuter ferries,” said Joonas Makkonen, vice president, Voyage Solutions, Wartsila.

“The SmartDock solution offers improved safety and efficiency for existing vessels,” said Jakob Steffensen, head of innovation and technology, DFDS, a Danish international shipping and logistics company that attended Wartsila’s demonstration of the product. “More importantly, it represents an important part of the solutions needed to power the next generation of vessels.” 

The successful sea trials were carried out on board Folgefonn, a 279-foot ferry owned by Norwegian operator Norled. The testing also included operating the automatic 180-degree rotational turn of the vessel, as well as Wartsila Guidance Marine’s CyScan AS with GeoLock technology, a cybersecurity-enhancing secondary position sensor, which enables the approach to the berth to continue even if the GPS signal is lost.

Click here to watch a SmartDock video.

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